It is usually said that Comedy is one of the toughest genres in acting because it involves very intricate and subtle expressions and it wouldn’t produce the needed effect whether it is over done or underplayed. Telugu Cinema has always been fortunate to have had some legendary comedians right from the black and white era. Right from Relangi and Padmanabham who evoked evergreen laughter in every Telugu Household, it was Raja Babu and Allu Ramalingaiah who created memorable laughter in the 70s era. But right from then- one gentleman has nearly monopolized the Comedy department in Telugu Cinema. His mere presence in a film rang the theatres with nonstop laughter. Some films became hit just because of the comedy relief evoked by this comedy king.
He is none other than our dear Brahmanandam! True to his name, Brahmanandam dedicated his life to Comedy and making Telugu people happy and his presence is a huge stress reliever! He has a unique mark of Comedy element associated with him and his acting style evolved throughout his career with great ease and perfection. In short, we saw only improvement in this actor and he never failed to create the hilarious impact!
Born: Brahmanandam Kanneganti
Date of Birth: 1st February 1956
Place of Birth: Sattenapalli, Andhra Pradesh
The story of Brahmanandam’s advent to the world of Telugu Cinema is in fact quite interesting one. Brahmanandam used to be a Telugu lecturer in Attili, East Godavari District and developed fine interest in Mimicry as a skill. His mimicry programmes were noticed by Hasya Brahma Jandhyala. During the shooting of Chiranjeevi’s Chantabbai, Brahmanandam was on the set location and was curiously looking at the Megastar with a funniest expression on face. Chiranjeevi obviously got distracted with this sharp look during the shooting and called Jandhyala the director to enquire who this young man is. Jandhyala called Brahmanandam nearer and introduced him to the Mega Star saying he is a wonderful mimicry artist. Little Chiranjeevi would have known then that he would generate nonstop laughter with this comedian named Brahmanandam later in his acting career!
Jandhyala gave a golden chance for Brahmanandam to act as Aragundu- the innocent servant of Lakshmipathi (Kota Srinivasa Rao) in Rajendra Prasad starrer Aha Na Pellanta which released in 1987. His natural get up, funniest expressions and the delivering of punch line ‘Potav Rarey Naasanamaipothav’ became a comedy storm those days. Telugu people started wondering who this short gentleman with curious comedy expressions was. His acting knew no fear, and was totally effortless in the debut film itself. It is when Telugu Film Connoisseurs as well as experts realized that a Comedy Star is born.
Brahmanandam next appeared simultaneously in comedy oriented roles along with some fantastic thought provoking roles such as a drunkard in K.Vishwanath’s Swayam Krushi as well. His remarkable transformation for a serious role was highly appreciated in this film. He became a regular with other contemporary comedian Kota Srinivasa Rao and this duo still continue to rock the comedy genre of Telugu Cinema with their stunning combination and tremendous comedy timing! Almost every Jandhyala film such as Chupulu Kalasina Subhavela, Hai Hai Naayaka, Vivaha Bhojanambu,Shh Gup Chup had Brahmanandam in a highly interesting role and never failed to generate hilarious laughter! His on screen chemistry with Srilakshmi evolved during Jandhyala’ films and they gave some fantastic comedy sequences for Telugu Audience to rejoice.
This did not stop Brahmanandam in acting for Commercial Cinema. He became a regular opposite top heroes of that age- Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balakrishna, Venkatesh as a sidekick or a person with amazing comedy perfection. There is no role which Brahmanandam cannot do- Let it be a funny police, a poet, a petty thief or you name it! No Telugu Person can forget the comedy epic film Chitram Bhalare Vichitram in which Brahmanadam is featured as the food obsessed youngster and who has a peculiar way of praying God!
New Age director Ram Gopal Varma unleashed a different angle of Brahmanadam with roles like Khan Dada- who is a ruthless rowdy but dreams of becoming a film star in his production film Money. The portrayal of a cleanliness obsessed Salesman in RGV’s Kshana Kshanam is still remembered for his comedy line ‘Nenu Pedathanu Kadha!' with a peculiar expression which only he can deliver! It was K. Raghavendra Rao and E.V.V.Satyanarayana who brought the mass comedy angle in Brahmanandam throughout the 90s era. Almost every film of theirs with Brahmanandam featured a unique comedy episode written exclusively for him. Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari, Allari Mogudu, Sundarakanda, Allari Priyudu, Aa Okkati Adakku ,Appula Appa Rao, Hello Brother, Aayanaki Iddaru are some of the memorable films from these directors. Brahmandanam is effortless with any actor on screen and his laughter with then comedy heroes like Rajendra Prasad and Naresh can never be forgotten by any Telugu Film Lover.
It was S.V.Krishna Reddy’s turn next to explore another interesting comedy angle from Brahmanandam. Let it be the funniest Chitragupta in Yamaleela, or the silent thief in Vinodam, Miser in Ghatotkachudu, Scapegoat in Premaku Velayera- Every film of his rocked the 90s with Brahmi’s comedy.
Brahmanandam continues his comedy streak with new age filmmakers such as Trivikram Srinivas, S.S. Rajamouli, Puri Jagannadh, Surinder Reddy, Srinu Vaitla and the list never ends! Having Brahmanandam in a film ensures minimum success guarantee for the producer as well as the directors. Script writers rack their brains to write a new and interesting character for Brahmanandam even till date. Brahmi generated nonstop laughter as Kill Bill Pandey in Allu Arjun starrer Race Gurram and many critics opined that the main reason behind the film’s success is his episode during the climax.
This comedy king only gets better as he ages by but never falters in his energy levels or the funniest expressions he delivers in style. He has even starred in some full length hero roles such as Babai Hotel which couldn’t perform well and hence realized his biggest strength- that is Comedy and continued with ease in the same. Brahmanandam holds the Guinness Record for being featured in maximum number of 804 films (By 2007) in the span of 20 years for a living actor.
Brahmanandam is quite unique in his acting style. He is capable of either underplaying the role or going to extreme loudness depending on the character’s demand. His body language and dialogue delivery is highly individualistic and has a comedy tinge even with his voice. The abrupt body movements and hilarious gait is another big asset he has.
- Brahmanandam is extremely devoted to his guru Jandhyala for bringing him to film industry. He always remembers the fond moments shared with the Hasya Brahma and offers heartfelt thanks for transforming him into a comedian.
- Was a host and an actor in Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam’s comedy serial Anando Brahma which used to air in Doordarshan during the 80s era. Incidentally Dharmavarapu was also introduced by Hasya Brahma Jandhyala in Jayammu Nischayammura.
- Veteran actor Prakash Raj has immense respect for Brahmanandam as an actor as well as excellent comedian.
- Yuva Samrat Nagarjuna once confessed on stage that he has a photo of Brahmanandam in his wallet and looks at it whenever he is disturbed or down. His wife Amala also agreed to what Nag has told on stage. This shows the tremendous influence of Brahmanandam and his comedy in Telugu Cinema.
- Brahmanandam considers E.V.V.Satyanarayana to be his second guru in acting career as he got some memorable roles from this director. Incidentally, EVV worked as an assistant director to Jandhayla during 80s era.
- Has the privilege of acting with three generation actors- ranging from Sr.NTR, ANR, Gummadi ; middle generation actors like Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balakrishna, Venkatesh till new generation heroes like Ram Charan, Naga Chaitanya and Allu Arjun.
- Some of the words coined by Brahmannadam such as Jaffa became a trend in many modern generation audiences in usage of it with extreme comedy timing.
- Brahmanandam is an inspiration to many upcoming comedians such as M.S.Narayana, Sunil, Saptagiri who shared screen presence with the legendary actor.
- Brahmanandam played himself as a radio mimicry artist in Suhasini starrer Amma produced by Ramoji Rao. His performance in the film was mesmerizing and critically acclaimed.
- Guinness Book of World Records- Highest Film Credits for A Living Actor-2007
- Padmasri – Government of India- 2009
- Best Comedian- Filmfare Award South- Manmadhudu- 2002
- Best Comedian- Cine MAA Award- Dookudu-2011
- Best Supporting Actor- Nandi Award- Agni-1994
- Best Comedian – Nandi Awards- Money, Vinodam, Ready- 1993,1996, 2010